Higher Education in Singapore: A Favoured Destination of Indian Aspirants

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Singapore, a small island with an area of 682 square km is on a verge of becoming a hot destination of Indian aspirants for education in management. As per the Siew Kheng Kang, Regional Director, Singapore Tourism Board, there are 70,000 international students in Singapore. Out of which, about 3000 Indian students go every year to study in Singapore and the number of such is growing at a rate of 20 percent every year. Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE), a report by the British Research Institute, said that many Asian Governments, particularly in East Asia aspire to be called as an education hub. OBHE said the number of international branch campuses in Singapore shoot up from 12 to 18 in two years. Newcomers include EDHEC Business School of France, UK’s University College of London and Manchester and Research Centres of Stanford.

Naveen Chopra, Chairman of Chopra Consultancy, New Delhi is of the opinion that Singapore’s proximity to India is one of the crucial reasons for its popularity. Also, being a drug-free and low-crime country has made it one of the favoured destinations in the eyes of the parents who wish to send their children abroad for study. He added that the cost of living and tuition fee was approximately 20-25 percent cheaper as compared to the other premium destinations like USA and UK. At East Asia Institute of Management (EASB), Singapore, there has been a significant rise in the intake of Indian students over the past three years, especially in post-graduate programmes. Singapore Management University (SMU) has also been a popular destination for students. SMU is one of the youngest universities to have been awarded long-term, five-year AACSB & EQUIS accreditation. SMU signed three memoranda of understanding (MOUs) in May 2012 with IIM Bangalore, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and BSE Institute respectively. The one with the BSE Institute is for collaboration and conducting training programmes and research on Asia’s financial and capital markets. The MoU with IIFT is to collaborate on conducting training programmes and research, while the one with IIM-B is for conducting joint research and publication.

Industry experts believe systemic changes are also responsible for the country’s popularity. Singapore has undergone a dynamic change in its Private Education Act. It now requires all private education institutions (PEIs) to be registered with the Council for Private Education (CPE), a statutory board under the Ministry of Education, before commencing its operations. Shivanjee Dewangan, Country Manager, International Business of Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS), discussed that PEIs, which want to take in international students, must meet even higher standards laid down by the EduTrust, a quality-assurance mark of the CPE.